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Shame job!

I highly recommend shacking up with a foreigner, as cultural differences help keep the magic alive. Today is my and Dr G’s fifth wedding anniversary and we still manage to surprise each other. At least when it comes to words. Just when I think I’ve heard all his wacky phrases, he dredges up another doozy. Like STARVE.

I first fell victim to Starve when he was eating a Mars bar and I was staring longingly at it.

“Do you want a bite?”

“What do YOU think?” I said, moving in for the kill.

Just as I was about to take a bite, he yoinked the chocolate out reach and cackled, “STARVE!”

Apparently this originated at his primary school, when little kids would tease other little kids with promises of bites of lunches, only to cruelly withdraw their offers. You can just picture them in the playground all full of glee, “Hey, want a crisp?…. STARVE!”

I’m not sure if the phrase extended beyond his school but nevertheless it’s brilliant, albeit incredibly frustrating when you’re on the receiving end of it.

Its usefulness extends beyond food – it makes a concise substitute for the likes of “get stuffed” or “over my dead body”. Examples:

  • If the boss thinks I am working overtime this weekend, he can starve.
  • If you think I am going to wash your filthy socks you can starve.
  • If they’re going to charge Β£50 for that shithouse t-shirt they can starve!

Etc etc etc.

Gareth’s favourite Australian phrase is SHAME JOB. Again I’ve not heard it used beyond the borders of my rural New South Wales home town – if anyone out there is familiar with it I’d love to hear from you!

Shame Job is a cry of mockery and scorn. In a school full of pimply teenagers there were plenty of opportunities to use it. The basic procedure is:

Hapless kid does something embarassing ==> Nearest gaggle of students point and shriek in unison: SHAME JOB!

  • Kid trips over a rock and goes flying… SHAME JOB!
  • Kid makes a failed chat-up attempt at the school disco… SHAME JOB!
  • Kid wears their jumper inside out or gets dacked* in the playground… SHAME JOB!

* dacked is the act of some cruel bastard sneaking up behind you and pulling down your tracky dacks (sweatpants/tracksuit bottoms) so the general public gets a look at your unfortunate undies.

Shame Job works best with a broad Australian accent. You must bellow it loud and pack as many vowels as possible into the shame bit, so it becomes: SHAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYUM JOB!

Shame Job is now our default phrase for when one us does something stupid or if someone on the telly is doing something stupid. Try it on your friends next time they cock something up – I guarantee you it’s fantastic fun.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


39 thoughts on “Shame job!

  1. We had a similar joke with my cousins in Mexico. In Spanish, one would ask, “Quieres?” (Would you like some?) and then, the coveted thing would be snatched away with, “Compras!” (Buy it yourself!). Ah, kids.

    I think in the US, dacked would be something like de-pantsing, with pants being trousers, of course.

    Always interesting to hear your perspective on language. I feel the same way about shacking up with a foreigner. Kids only make it more interesting as they pick up stuff from both cultures and are generally very confused πŸ˜‰

  2. I’ve never heard of “Starve” or “Shame job” but I like them both. I might have to adopt them into our local vernacular. Of course, it’s only the five of us who’ll use them but still…

    My fave thing my Aussie husband says is, “Don’t come the f**kin raw prawn with me.” It sends shivers of delight all through me when I hear him drawl it at me.

  3. @Pamela – Ooh that sounds more exotic than starve… will have to try!

    Thanks @PQ! It’s the original Vegas anniversary today!

    I guess Shame Job is a bit like FAIL but has more scorn about it, and is more used for humiliating moments than incompetence. Hehehe.

    @Stella – Ooh er! Does he like any of your Scots phrases?

  4. Happy Anniversary! I have my own 5 year anniversary with my Brit on March 16. And, like you, I highly recommend marrying a foreigner. It’s hard to stay angry with someone who is arguing with me in a really cute English accent. πŸ˜‰

  5. Happy anniversary! I love shame job. “Fail” has long needed a replacement since it was stale like three years ago. I’m on the meme assignment.

  6. SHAME JOB πŸ˜€ Closely related to Shame Shame Shame, which only those who lived through the Derryn Hinch era will ever truly appreciate (the difference being, SH is inherently gleeful and SSS sorrowfully judgemental)

    My favourite Scottish word is jobbie. Immature I know, but it makes me giggle every time. Teehee!

  7. Shame job sounds like it would have made a great substitute for all the times I screamed WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY during my adolescence, and, uh, my years at university.

    uni canteen, someone drops their plate – WAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
    Someone falls over in the mud at school – WAAAAAAAAYYYYY

    Or my personal favourites (because we dissed our own country) – while watching a documentary on bridges in Chemistry one year the Forth Rail Bridge flashed up. After 30 mins of examples of miraculously sturdy English bridges the documentary explained how the Forth Rail Bridge was mainly held together by paint and was expected to rust into the sea at any moment.

    The WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY that followed that was one of the of the best moments of high school. It was irresistible, it was right, it was the only moment our class was every truly unified.

  8. I’ve heard them use the word pantsed here in California, in place of dacked.

    Have yet to find out the equivalent to a Dacky Dropper though. (Like when you lose a game without scoring ANY points–ie Pool/Snooker without getting any of your balls in the pockets–and have to drop your dacks and run a lap around the field of play half starkers.)

  9. Thanks cobbers!

    Hell yeah Lauren, Shame Job would have worked a treat there… the bridge bit cracked me right up πŸ™‚

    @Margaret – excellent definitions of SSS and Shame Job… subtle but vital difference!

    @Patricia – happy anniversary for the 16th!

  10. He took to “Aye, right!” as an exclamation of “No! Not under any circumstances!” quite quickly. I was surprised when my Aussie friends hadn’t heard anyone use, “Oh, sod off!” before.

  11. Sounds like “Starve” is the Scottish version of what I grew up with.
    *holding out ice cream*
    “Wanna lick”
    “Yes please”
    *yanks ice cream away*
    “Physc!”

    Now that I think about it, I’m not sure what it means. Physcing someone out is what’s in my head but is that right?

  12. Ha ha ha

    West London included “Shame” which was a kind of combination of your “Shame Job” and “That’s so awful I’d be kind of sorry for you if I wasn’t laughing so hard” – but definitely in a disparaging not sympathetic way.

    And bizarrely for a while “Ras” which I think is vaguely Jamaican, my sister always reckons she started “You spanner” as a popular insult at our school, and famously, “Your Mum!”. As in, I’ve slept with her and she was good/bad/ugly, but it never needed the full sentence, and it was of course a deathly insult. Oh, and so many more… what a trip down memory lane!

  13. Yep, Shame job definitely still has currency around here. Always in a lightly mocking tone.
    And I think our version of “Starve” was “Suffer”. Said “Sar-far” as nastily as possibly.
    Happy anniversary.

  14. Ahhh, I was trying to remember what we said in the context of “starve” – and it was “sarfffff aaaarrrr”! Thanks Jane!

  15. I remember SHAME JOB from years ago, but don’t recall if it was from where I grew up in the outer suburbs of Sydney, or if it was while I was living in regional areas of the NT. I remember my coastal cousins used to think everthing was CHOICE. God we used to take the piss out of them.

  16. In New Zealand we just said SHAME if someone fell over or whatever.

    I was explaining the differnet meanings of ‘DAG’ to some English friends last week. Like how being ‘a dag’ is almost a compliment – sort of a funny person, whereas being ‘daggy’ is definitely not a compliment!

  17. @Frani – I think you might be right re NT… I did some googling awhile back, wondering if Shame Job would be a Googlewhack, but it came up in a few headlines for NT newspapers! CHOICE.

  18. “shame on your name!” never gets tired either

    (It’s a total kiwi thing – as is “marnus!” but not sure that one travels well. Shame on your name is gold no matter where though!!)

  19. Haha I remember STARVE. I grew up in Edinburgh and it was used all the time here. Even my kids say it now. And I hate to admit it but I have said it to my kids, jokingly of course. xxx

  20. Ha ha ha. Yep, shame job, Shaaaame, suffarrr and suffer in your jocks all make me feel at home. I’m married to a Brit and everytime I say duds he replies “Duds is pants” like a proud child. It never gets old. We’re house hunting and I had to explain why I say “tell ‘im he’s dreamin'” every time I see an overpriced house.
    I love these posts DG:)

  21. Shame job was definitely the phrase of choice in Darwin in the 80s.

    It’s not just packing the vowels into Shame though, you have to stretch out the Job – like “jaaaawwwwwoooobb” or something like that.

    And I’m not surprised the NT News would use it in headlines… embarrassed but not surprised.

  22. Yup, we had SHAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYUM (without the “job”) in the Blue Mountains too! It then morphed into SHAAAAAYMEFUUULL…

    We also had SUFFF-AAARRR, and the old classic “SUCKED-IN”. Elegant, that one.

    My favourite from the above contributions is “shame on your name!”. May I borrow that one?

  23. In my New Jersey junior high school, if you ever said something uncool, someone else would pause for a loooong moment, expressionless, and then yell, “NEXT!!!” really loudly. It was a public shaming, sort of like saying “We’re tired of you – please bring on the next contestant to the idiot show”. It was absolutely mortifying if it was done to you, mostly because in the horrible long moment’s pause after you spoke, you knew the NEXT was coming and had time to reflect on your stupidity.

    NEXT!!! It still makes me cringe.

  24. In Brisbane QLD growing up, we had SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME. We also used suffer … but that too was a drawn out sound, like SUFFAAAAAAHHHHH. Sucked in was also a delicate one, at the top of your lungs it was proclaimed! It sounds like the sayings and meanings were not all that different around Australia.

  25. Happy 5th anniversay!
    “Shame”, my Cowra cousins used to say that πŸ™‚
    I just noticed this 2001 entry of yours “Ding dong, said I, the wicked witch is dead. But soft! What apothecary by the curbside breaks? It is the noble Dr Karl!” LOL.
    I love your blog!

  26. Oh, and as for sayings…my current group tends to bring one’s mother in to the mix…as in,

    You’re Stupid…Yeah, so’s You’re Mom.
    I hate finger food…so does You’re Mom.
    My feet hurt…You’re Mom.

    and so on and so on, that now even before any one can say anything, it’s instantly…You’re Mom.

    Yeah…we’re infantile.

  27. welll, i’ve never actually heard this said outside of southern CA but when the simpsons cartoon took off in the early 90’s, fools from MILES around, [, yes m’self included], could be heard saying “DOH!” anytime someone said or god forbid, DID anything stupid. so, some poor dude, trips going up a flight of stairs cuz he missed one right? you would say really loudly “Doh!” but it only worked if you said it really short and staccato-like.

    try it out–see how you like it. feel free to add your own flair–you know–like a wince or something. even though the simpsons have been on TV for 20 years, you don’t hear it said with the same frequency. however, I like to rock the “doh” from time to time purely for it’s nostalgia factor and those “special” occasions. i guess you could call the expression “timeless”. LOL! (god, i’m such a bullsh*tter…and the sad thing–i can’t help it.)

  28. we too had “rock job” at north sydney dem and chatswood high. when our school entered the choreographed dance bludge known as rock eisteddfod, the phrase “rock job eisteddfod” got bandied about a fair bit. we didnt have a big budget for props and costumes compared to some other schools.

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